Saturday, May 1, 2010

April Magic

April passed quickly in my world. Today, on the first of May, I feel reflective, wanting to acknowledge this lovely month when Spring bursts forth and I am again allowed to witness the magic in this yearly performance. It's always surprising and inspiring to watch.

One year ago, during this magic month of April, three remarkable and unexpected things happened, and they left a profound mark on me that still has me looking for magic and wonder in the everyday.

Mine That Bird came from nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby against 50 to 1 odds, creating the second-biggest upset in Derby history. He won not by a nose, but by a mile. He came, quite literally, from out of the blue.

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, the beloved Detroit Tiger pitcher from the 1970s, died of a tragic accident. Only allowed to start a game in 1976 because the starting pitcher was sick, he astounded everyone by throwing seven no-hit innings that game. No one saw it coming. He captured imaginations and entertained with his onfield antics, and overnight became a national celebrity. He went on to win the American Rookie of the Year Award in '76. Every time he pitched in Tiger Stadium, he filled the seats with "Bird Watchers."

Susan Boyle, the unlikely Scottish superstar, delivered a stunning performance on Britain's Got Talent and surprised the world with her tremendous voice and incredible performance of "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables. From the seventh note, she had the audience and judges flabbergasted and on their feet cheering.

What is it about surprise performances? About someone/thing coming from seemingly nowhere to wow and inspire us? Is it about feeling shaken out of commonplace and mundane experiences by those who take us quickly and unexpectedly to a new level? Is it seeing someone who has truly made a difference and has the passion to share that gift freely with others? Is it seeing those who aspire to so much more than the mundane and ordinary around us?

I love to be surprised. I love the experience of receiving more than I expect. The magic is in the surprise, in the unexpected. It's that catch in the throat, that small intake of air as you realize you're witnessing something truly wonderful, unexpected and rare. That's true of Nature's performance each April, too. How lucky I am to get a front-row seat to that performance each year. Adieu, magic month. And 'Thank You' to two Birds and a Boyle, who in unexpected ways gave me a magical year.